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The Last Unicorn Paperback – Jan 1 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reissue edition (Jan. 1 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451450523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451450524
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 1.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien's The Hobbit, Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician--whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended--when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle argues brilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly of forgetting to dream. --Nona Vero

About the Author

Peter S. Beagle, a World Fantasy Award nominee, is the bestselling author of the fantasy classic The Last Unicorn as well as many other highly acclaimed works. His novels and stories have been translated into sixteen languages worldwide, and his long and fascinating career has covered everything from journalism and stage adaptations to songwriting and performances. He has given readings, lectures, and concerts of his own songs from coast to coast, and has written several screenplays, including Ralph Bakshi's film version of The Lord of the Rings.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Noverraz on March 31 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone..."
But when one day she overhears two hunters arguing about the existence, or not, of her kind, she starts wondering if she's indeed the last unicorn, and sets off on a quest to find others like her. Nobody believes in fairy tales anymore and everyone she meets thinks she's nothing more than a white mare. Even Mommy Fortuna, who captures her one night while she's indiscreetly sleeping on the edge of a wood, and puts her in a cage to entertain and impress customers of her Midnight Carnival, alongside other animals that the witch turns into various illusory mythical beasts. Hopefully, one of Fortuna's assistants, Schmendrick the wannabe magician, recognizes the unicorn for what she really is. He releases her, and travelling together, meeting a new companion called Molly Grue on the way, they make for King Haggard's cursed castle. There lives the terrible Red Bull, the blind, devilish creature responsible for the disappearance of the unicorns, or so they've heard.
The Last Unicorn is a real fairy tale, where everything seems to happen in a kind of ethereal, parallel reality. Beagle’s style is such that every place, every character, and every action that takes place is hard to focus on, as if it were a dream that you're trying to remember. And on the other hand, it approaches very real themes, ones you can relate to, such as finding who you are and what you want to be, or making the right choices and compromises in your life... I won't say I understood it all, but I was charmed by this deep, very poetic, and sad tale of love and magic, good and evil, by this quest for seasons of candor, when we believe in fairy tales and legendary creatures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10 2004
Format: Paperback
Beagle is a gifted writer and the story line is original with great potential. Unfortunately, the telling of the story can't decide if it is fantasy or parody. Or perhaps it is parody and I wanted it to be fantasy. Beagle builds beautiful images with his prose only to topple them with flippant dialog and pointless actions. The ending is completely unsatisfying. Throughout the story, tension builds over the Red Bull, the nemesis of the unicorn, but when a confrontation takes place, the scene dissipates benignly and the story coasts to a bittersweet end.
There are many elements here to enjoy, so it is worth the read; just don't expect too much. If you're looking for good fantasy, keep looking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Aug. 25 2011
Format: Hardcover
Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" is one of the ultimate modern fairy tales: the magical, bittersweet story of a little unicorn's search for others of her kind. And the graphic novel adaptation does justice to Beagle's story -- the story is only enhanced by the exquisitely lovely art, full of soft colors and elusive magic.

A unicorn has lived happily in her idyllic little forest, until the day she hears a man say that "unicorns are long gone -- if indeed they ever were." To find if she is indeed the last unicorn, she sets out on a journey across the land, and soon discovers that the people have forgotten what a unicorn even looks like.

But she hears a butterfly speak of the Red Bull, and how he has captured all the unicorns of the world except her.

Along her journey, she is captured by a traveling circus, and rescued by a bumbling young wizard with illusion powers. Along with the wizard and a bandit's girlfriend, she makes her way to the malignant castle of King Haggard -- and is transformed into a mortal girl, who experiences love, uncertainty, and finally sorrow.

"The Last Unicorn" is honestly one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time, especially since Peter Beagle managed to write such a simple, haunting little fairy tale. There's romance, tragedy, fantastical creatures, and a mythical creature setting out on a seemingly hopeless quest.

And the graphic novel adaptation of "The Last Unicorn" is an absolutely exquisite in every way. It's obvious that the team behind it had great love for Beagle's novel, and they preserve the beauty of his prose ("Your eyes are full of green leaves, crowded with trees and streams and small animals") whenever possible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mp on Jan. 21 2004
Format: Paperback
Along with the rest of the civilized world, my wandering memories often lead me back to two of my favorite childhood movies, "The Neverending Story" and "The Last Unicorn." Practically all I could remember of the latter was some skull yelling "Unicorn! Uuuunicorn!" That image and that voice have left a lingering discomfort in the back of my mind for years. A while back, I found a little time to investigate Michael Ende's novel, "The Neverending Story," and just recently, I managed to come across a copy of "The Last Unicorn," and I couldn't help but read it. In both cases, these novels have more than repayed my childhood memories, giving my adult mind philosophical and literary substance as well as real joy. Peter S. Beagle's 1968 novel, "The Last Unicorn," is much more than a simple fantasy story - though it is rife with magicians, mythical creatures, and all of the customary trappings. It is even more than a complex fantasy story - somehow Beagle enchants us into a timeless place where nothing seems unusual - "The Last Unicorn" creates a space for magic in our modern lives.
The novel begins as a unicorn overhears two hunters riding through her wood - the hunters debate whether unicorns exist anymore. The unicorn begins to wonder if indeed she is the last of her kind, and goes in search of other unicorns. She is caught sleeping by Mommy Fortuna, owner of the Midnight Carnival, who displays the unicorn for a time alongside a real harpy and a motley bunch of meek, hopeless animals who are made, through Fortuna's magic, to resemble other dangerous mythical beasts for the entertainment of travellers, tourists, and townsfolk.
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